I've been a Redskin fan for nearly all of my 55 years, but I've been a West Virginian for every one of them. And even though I haven’t lived there since 1985, I’m still a WVU grad who watched every game Pat White ever played in Blue and Gold.
And I’m telling you, he’s more than camp fodder for the Redskins. Or at least he should be.
It’s become fashionable to sniff at White because he’s not conventional NFL quarterback, and some people think the ability to recognize that fact elevates them to the status of amateur NFL talent scout.
The problem with that logic is we all saw last season — courtesy of RGIII, Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, et al — that conventional ideas about quarterbacking are undergoing a fundamental change. Unfortunately for Pat White, they had had only begun two change three years ago, when he had the bad luck to be drafted by one of the NFL’s more dysfunctional franchises just as it was on the cusp of yet another coaching change.
The plain truth is that Pat White never got a chance to be Pat White in Miami. Oh, they toyed with it for a season, but eventually the novelty wore off and skeptics were able to nod their heads knowingly and say, "See, I told you he wasn’t really a quarterback."
But he is. Just not the kind people are used to seeing. Or weren’t until this past season. Now all the gifts Pat White always had are suddenly en vogue. Thankfully, the evolution didn’t wait until after his skills had eroded completely.
Where does White fit in with the Redskins? As No. 3 quarterback instead of Rex Grossman, one would hope. Certainly Kirk Cousins is entrenched as the backup because he can throw pretty well and run at least well enough that the Redskins would still be executing the same basic system if he had to replace RG3.
Not so with Rex Grossman, who can pass fairly well but can’t run a lick.
Bottom line: White can’t pass as well as Grossman, but he can run better than anyone — including RG3, who may have more top-end speed but lacks White’s instincts for setting up defenders and following blockers. If you doubt me, watch the video above.
When RG3 is in the game, opposing defenses have to worry about the pass as well as the run. To a lesser extent, Cousins can also do both. White and Grossman are more one-dimensional, but White’s legs are a far bigger asset than Grossman’s arm at this point in both their careers.
The clincher is that the Redskins could run essentially the same offense with RG3 and White but would have to make a more fundamental change if Grossman had to play.
At the end of the day, even if Pat White was signed just to simulate RG3 until the genuine article is healthy enough to take all the reps again, it’s still a smart, cost-effective move.
But used correctly, he’s got much, more value than that. More, even, than Rex Grossman.